Greenwich Council hit businesses and residents in the pocket with increased parking charges
Labour-run Greenwich Council has decided to push through a rise charges in car parks and for parking permits by 7%, using an urgency procedure to make sure it cannot be challenged by Opposition Councillors. According to the BBC general prices are currently rising by 0.4%, which means that the proposed increase in charges is a massive 17.5 times the rate of inflation and will hit residents and businesses alike.
The ‘Review of Parking Permit and Pay and Display Charges’ aims to raise the cost of:
· Parking permits for businesses, residents and visitors
· On street parking
· Off street parking (like car parks)
The decision means that residents in all day Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) will face a charge of £107pa for parking outside their own home while businesses located in the same area will pay £428 to park. Even in shorter duration CPZs, businesses will be forced to pay £214pa.
There are a number of issues which suggest that Labour Councillors are not in full control of this policy area:-
· A review of parking charges should take place at least every two years, but this deadline has been missed, leading to a massive rise in charges in 2021.
· The proposal to push up charges by so much apparently ‘support and are consistent with’ the objectives of Greenwich Council’s “Kerbside and Parking Management Strategy” but this document has yet to be written.
· The report which accompanies this decision states that “Legislation requires that any proposals relating to parking must be driven by transport (parking) policy considerations and not by a desire to generate income” however, Greenwich generated a £3.45m surplus on parking in 2019/20 with this decision likely to add a further quarter of a million pounds.
Eltham Councillor Spencer Drury commented “I judge Greenwich Council on its actions not its words. The Labour Council leadership is quick to say they are supporting businesses, but then it hits them with massively increased charges in an area where it is already making a huge surplus. The questions looming over this decision suggest that a proper review is necessary, however, it appears that once again this Council leadership is unwilling to allow anyone to question their decisions. From missing deadlines through to basing decisions on non-existent strategies, this is a Council which is making it up as it goes along. We should be reducing these charges to support business not pushing them up by a completely unjustifiable amount.”